by Tamara J. Madison

Making jazz swing in
Seventeen syllables AIN’T
No square poet’s job.

Etheridge Knight

then let me be voluptuously curvaceous
straight                            lines
tight                                  corners
anal                                   degrees

my axe honed
on your haiku
I spit
prayer split
threads of fleece slip
them through the eye
of time
stitch lyric tailor
an iridescent veil to drape
shimmying hips
bejeweled navel
snake arms charming
the Charmer

I squat
on stanzas elbow
to knee palm
to cheek head
cocked wide-
legged laughing


Author Bio
Tamara J. Madison is a writer, poet and performer currently living and working in New Jersey, New York. Her creative and critical works have been published in numerous anthologies, journals, and magazines. More >


  • I have to admit I really don’t understand this poem but I’m almost certain that this writer has trudged through many rough roads of poetry and has climbed to a place few can follow (despite it all making sense to the poet). My question is, if none can follow you, for whom are you writing? Perhaps there are many who have reached that esoteric place. The poem has me wishing I could reach it.

  • Jackie M. says:

    Some poetry is written for the poet.

    But this one isn’t completely inaccessible. Don’t try to understand—it’s all rhythms and images. Maybe read it out loud, just a little fast? See if you can feel it swing.

  • Kendall D. says:

    This poem swings! Madison has honed her axe on Knight’s haiku, split threads of fleece, slipped them through the eye of time and stitched a lyric. I especially like the syncopation of the displaced line endings. And the image of the poet squatting on stanzas is hilarious. No square poet here.

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